Nirbhay Kumar

Nirbhay Kumar

Nirbhay Kumar


School: Milken Institute School of Public Health

Department: Global Health


Email: Nirbhay Kumar
Office Phone: 202-994-0991
Science & Engineering Hall 800 22nd Street, NW Washington DC 20052

Nirbhay Kumar, Ph.D. is a Professor in the Department of Global Health at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health. Dr. Kumar also holds an appointment as Adjunct Professor in the Department of Tropical Medicine at the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.

Dr. Kumar graduated from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi with Ph.D. in Biochemistry and is currently engaged in research on the development of a vaccine to stop malaria transmission. He received advanced research training in cell biology, immunology and vaccinology of malaria as a post-doctoral fellow and visiting associate at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda.  He then joined the faculty of the School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University and continued there from 1986-2009 as Professor of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology and Deputy Director of Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute. Prior to joining the Department of Global Health, Dr. Kumar served as William G. Vincent Endowed Professor and Chair of the Department of Tropical Medicine, and Director of a Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases Research Centre at Tulane University, New Orleans.

He has trained and mentored more than 50 graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and junior faculty during his professional career at Johns Hopkins University, Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute and Tulane University. As PI of a Global Infectious Diseases (GID) Training Grant (Fogarty International Center, NIH) for more than 12 years, he actively worked towards capacity building in developing countries via several workshops and mentored training of students and public health professional. Dr. Kumar was elected fellow of the, American Association for the Advancement of Sciences (AAAS) in 2007, American Academy of Microbiology (AAM) in 2012 and American Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene (ASTMH) in 2015.

Infectious Disease


Global Health



Ph.D. (Biochemistry) – All India Institute of Medical sciences, New Delhi, India

Sc.M. (Biochemistry) – Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India

Sc.B. (Chemistry, Physics, Math) – Agra University, Agra, India

Graduate level courses at JHU (Biology of Parasitism and Malariology)

Graduate level courses at Tulane (Immunology and Immunoparasitology)

1980 -

Life Member, Indian Immunology Society

1981 - 1992

Member, American Society for Cell and Developmental Biology

1986 -

Reviewer, J. Immunol., J.Inf.Dis., Inf and Imm., GENE, Mol. Biochem. Parasitol., Exp. Parasitol., Am. J. Trop. Med. Hyg., Exp. Parasitol., Parasitol. Res., Mol. Cell. Probes, J. Euk. Microbiol., Cutting Edge., MBP, PNAS, Nature, Science

1986 -

Member / adhoc reviewer (>6 dozen), NIH, USAID, WHO, AIBS, MIDRP, MRSP, CDC, MRC, Wellcomme Trust

1988 -

Member, American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene

1989 -

Member, American Society of Microbiology

1989 - 1990

Temporary Advisor and Co-opted Member, WHO-TDR-IMMAL

1991 - 1997

Member, American Association of Immunologists

1992 - 1994

Member, Department of Biotechnology (Govt. India) Advisory Board

2002 - 2004

Specialist Editor and Editor of two thematic Issues, Int. J. Parasitology

2002 - 2004

Chair, Military Infectious Disease Research- Malaria Vaccine Panel (AIBS)

2002 - 2005

Regular Member, TMP (PTHE)-NIAID

2003 - 2005

Member, American Society for Parasitologists

2005 - 2009

Member, ASM - International Award Committee

2006 - 2014

Member, AAAS

2006 - 2008

Member, Scientific Advisory Committee, NIAID - MR4

2007 -

Associate Editor, Open Tropical medicine, J. Parasitol. research

2008 -

Editorial Board Member, Current Genetics

2009 -

Member Editorial Board, Infection & Immunity

2010 -

Academic Editor, PLOS ONE

2011 -

Member Scientific Advisory Group, NIAID-ICEMR (Southern Africa, Malawi, Amazonian)

2011 -

Chair, Travel Awards Committee, ASTMH



Advising, Mentoring,Teaching & Research Award, BSPH-JHU


Outstanding Research Paper, JHU-Applied Physics Lab


R.W.Hartl Prize for Excellence in Independent Research, JHU-Applied Physics Labs


Life Science Inventions of the Year, JHU-Applied Physics Labs


McGhee Memorial Lecture, American Society of Parasitologists


Keynote Lecture and Co-Host, MR4 International Bioinformatics Workshop


Dean's Lecture- Grand Rounds, BSPH-JHU


Indo-US Visiting Professor, ASM


Medical Science Award, Ranbaxy Science Foundation


Opening Plenary Lecture, International Primate Center, Nairobi


Fellow, American Assn. Advancement of Sciences (AAAS)


Invited International Speaker, Gairdner Foundation, Canada


Fellow, American Academy of Microbiology (AAM)


Plenary Speaker, Malaria Day Symposium-Univ. Miss.


Fellow, American Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene (ASTMH)

A primary focus of research in the Kumar lab has been in the area of Immunobiology of Malaria Transmission. Research in Dr. Kumar’s lab has played a critical role in the development and wider acceptance of the concept of malaria transmission blocking vaccine to its present state as a key vaccine approach to achieve elimination and / or global eradication of malaria.  In addition, Dr. Kumar has also led several collaborative International research projects on immunology of malaria, pre-clinical evaluation of vaccines and co-infections with other neglected tropical parasites in Colombia, Kenya, Rwanda, India, Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Dr. Kumar's current interests are on the development of a vaccine to stop transmission of human malaria caused by Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax. Understanding mechanisms of sexual differentiation of Plasmodium and interaction with the anopheline mosquito vector guide the rational design of vaccines targeting the transmission process. Current focus of these vaccine studies includes: (1) recombinant expression of vaccine antigens, (2) optimization of immune responses of vaccine antigens formulated with various adjuvants including nanosomes and nanoparticles, (3) development of DNA vaccine combinations to interrupt malaria transmission, and (4) understanding immune correlates of vaccine efficacy and safety.

In other studies, he is also investigating DNA damage response mechanisms in Plasmodium, especially during exposure to anti-malarial drugs such as artemisinin. Another growing interest (animal models and field studies) of the Kumar lab is to investigate parasitologic and immune interactions during malaria and helminth coinfections.

Dr. Kumar has published more than 190 research articles in peer-reviewed journals and has delivered numerous invited talks at various national and international scientific meetings, universities and research institutions all over the world. Recent publications in the last 5 years are listed below. Please view Complete List of Published Work in My Bibliography: